By now everyone with a pulse and an Internet connection knows the Staten Island grand jury refused to indict a cop that may have choked a guy to death. It is unclear if that is what happened. The dead guy was a big fat slob with lots of health problems. It is not even clear the cop choked the guy. The video of it looks like the cops had an arm around his neck, but maybe not applying enough pressure to kill the guy. It’s impossible to know from the video. It looks like any other day to me. I’ve seen cops do that in my little slice of heaven dozens of times.
That does not mean the cops were right. There’s not enough here to think they committed a crime. Presumably the grand jury had medical testimony, witness testimony and legal testimony. Cops, unlike citizens, are permitted to use force to arrest someone, but there are rules they must follow and laws that govern their actions. The video is just one piece of the puzzle, but it is hard for me to say a crime was committed. I can’t even find a definite statement as to what killed the guy. There’s video of him on the ground in cuffs still alive so I’m guessing he was not strangled.
None of this matter much. The prosecutor took the evidence to a grand jury. They don’t do that asking for a no-bill. The old line about getting a ham sandwich indicted is true, for the most part. Citizens put a lot of trust in the prosecutors. They also trust that the innocent will get a fair trial. That means there is a bias toward indicting the accused. When a grand jury fails to indict it usually means the case is laughably implausible. Of course, a prosecutor can take a terrible case to a grand jury for PR purposes like we saw in Ferguson, but that does not appear to be the case here. The city and the DA wanted this cop swinging from a light post.
The question is why the grand jury did not indict. My view of the video is not the same as the hysterics in the media. Reading the comments on some of these news stories suggests a non-trivial number of people watched that video and saw a combination of Bull Connor and Torquemada torturing a black man to death on the city street. Even assuming they are attention whores performing their public act of piety, the easy choice for the grand jury was to indict, but they chose the hard path.
My suspicion is we’re seeing the backlash to the race baiting the last few years. The Ferguson was so outlandish and offensive to decent people they are pushing back. Just as the silent majority rallied to Nixon, not because they loved Tricky Dick, but because they hated the forces of chaos unleashed by the Left, middle Americans are rallying against the latest push for chaos by the Left.
Today, the main political line of division in the United States is not between the regions of North and South (insofar as such regions can still be said to exist) but between elite and nonelite. As I have tried to make plain … for the last 15 years, the elite, based in Washington, New York, and a few large metropolises, allies with the underclass against Middle Americans, who pay the taxes, do the work, fight the wars, suffer the crime, and endure their own political and cultural dispossession at the hands of the elite and its underclass vanguard.
— Sam Francis
The men and women on that Staten Island grand jury live in the shadow of the elites. That’s where the firemen, cops, construction workers live. They are the people snotty New Yorkers call the “bridge and tunnel” crowd or prols by this guy. They are also the people called racists by the mayor for not wanting to deal with guys like Eric Garner every day. They are the folks who watch the rioting in Ferguson and wonder if that’s coming their way. Asked to choose between flawed cops and the kind of guys loitering in front of the bodega hassling the patrons, they voted for the cops. They voted for order.
They sent a message.